The Parable of the Leftovers

Guest Post:ph

leftovers1.jpgMany years ago, a very wise man visited a village with some helpers. He was a great friend to the village. This friend and his helpers spent time teaching the families how to prepare a marvelous and nourishing feast.

They brought a recipe book and made it available to each member of the village. They helped them build a store from where to get the ingredients for their meals. They taught the villagers and their families how to prepare the ingredients. They also taught them how to stock the store with some items the villagers could provide themselves.

The visitors brought with them some special and very important items from a store a ways away. Then they taught the villagers the way to the store. They taught the importance of regular visits to the special store where there were ingredients that could not be obtained elsewhere. The families in the village had all they needed to prepare themselves strengthening and nourishing meals and feasts. The wise old friend and his helpers then left and promised to return some time in the future.

Over time, some families started to forget to look at the recipes and would just “wing it.” Some visited the special store but didn’t return—and some families never went. Some families regularly went to the local store, but they returned home with only a few of the needed ingredients. A few of them went to the store, getting what they could but never helping to resupply it. Some families stopped going to the store altogether and gathered what they thought they needed from other places. A few families remembered to regularly use the recipe book, regularly visit the stores and helped to restock as they were able. There began to be changes in the land surrounding the village. Some of the villagers had been able to obtain some good ingredients, but those were becoming scarce. Plenty of things were available, but none had the life-giving nutrients needed for a healthy existence. They would be filled after eating outside the village, but they were losing their health and slowly becoming sickly. Some of those villagers, who visited the local store but didn’t bring home much, would prepare a thin soup—thinking it would be enough to sustain them. They satisfied themselves that it was better than that obtained outside the village—or could at least supplement the things they received from outside. But it wasn’t enough to sustain them very well, either.

Of course, the preparing of these meals took some time and effort. Each person in each family had to do their own part. Of course, Mom or Dad could do it all, but it just didn’t come out quite as good, and sometimes it didn’t work at all if everyone didn’t pitch in together. These families learned they couldn’t prepare very much ahead, but they needed to start fresh each day. It took effort. But it was well worth it. Even the everyday meals were often feasts. There was much to do in the village—and outside the village, too. If they didn’t carefully measure their time, there wouldn’t be enough of it to properly prepare their meals.

Some of the families in the village would try and share their meals with the other villagers. They could share what they had that day, but they knew they couldn’t provide meals for them every day. Some of the villagers had become so used to the food from outside the village that they didn’t want what was offered to them, even though it was much more nutritious.

Many years passed and the old wise friend returned. Of course most of the families in the village wanted to invite him over…they had missed their old friend. He graciously accepted as many of the invitations as were offered. And he began visiting the families in the village. Only a few families had prepared the feast as he had taught them. They had the necessary ingredients for the feast. They had even made the trip to the special store for those things which could only be obtained there. They knew the recipes, having made regular such meals. In these homes, the old friend feasted and rejoiced. He felt as if he were at home again.

Some of the villagers offered him some of their thin soup. They had prepared it with a few of the necessary ingredients, but it really wasn’t very nourishing—and certainly not a feast. Some of the families couldn’t offer him anything. They knew he wouldn’t partake of that which came from outside the village. He was saddened that he could not stay with them. Some of the families had spent much time and labor outside the village. They visited the local store as often as possible but didn’t have the ability to obtain much; they’d spent most of what they had without the walls. In preparation for the visit from their friend, they tried to hurry to the store—some even thought they might have time to make a trip to the specialty store. They were saddened to learn that some of the items weren’t available on short notice. Gathering what they could, they returned home to prepare their feast. They had little time left before their friend would need to continue his journey. They discovered they didn’t have much available nor enough time to properly prepare it. They weren’t familiar with their recipe books, not having used them very much. They resorted to offer their important visitor leftovers. Some of the leftovers had been stored from their friend’s first visit. Unfortunately, such things don’t keep and many of them weren’t edible anymore. Their friend left their homes without having been fed more than a little, and at leftovers at that.

1 Comment

  1. eh
    Jan 22, 2008

    I love how this parable so eloquently illustrates what and who we may be. I hope I can become one of those who always “visits the special store”, and uses the recipes to make delicious meals.

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